Sir Alan Parker, the former ad man who moved into film directing and proved to have an impressively wide range, has passed away after a long illness, it has been announced. His first film was for his children, the 1976 cult classic gangsters-as-kids musical Bugsy Malone, establishing him as a talent with nous about using music. His next could not be more different, the real life Turkish prison drama Midnight Express, followed by the New York School of Performing Arts tale Fame, which spawned a long-running television series. In 1982 he directed the underrated family drama Shoot the Moon and miserabilist Pink Floyd: The Wall, based on the concept album, then to America with Birdy and horror Angel Heart. Mississippi Burning was a controversial hit, after which he had rare flops with Come See the Paradise and odd comedy The Road to Wellville, then bounced back with the excellent music comedy The Commitments and Andrew Lloyd Webber/Madonna collaboration Evita. He ended his career with Angela's Ashes and The Life of David Gale. Reliable, often inspired and always down to earth, he was one of Britain's best directors of the seventies through to the nineties.